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Lakes area fun on the 4th of July

A 4th of July fireworks show will once again bring thousands to the DL city beach to celebrate the holiday, with the light display set to start at dusk. (Brian Basham/Record)

Looking for a way to celebrate Independence Day with a bang? There is plenty to do in the lakes area.

This year's 4th of July festivities actually kick off a little earlier with performances all over the place.

But the main conclusion to a packed weekend will bring more than 10,000 people to the Detroit Lakes City Beach to watch a fireworks display that aims to get closer to perfection every year.

"We monkey with it every year," said Mark Fritz, one of the event's coordinators. "We always make a number of recommendations of what we think would improve the show."

This year, local businesses and individuals from the community have donated more than $11,000 to pay for the fireworks display.

"We're just happy we can continue a show that caliber," Fritz added. "The community is just fantastic as far as local businesses (contributing)."

So bring a lawn chair or a blanket, get comfortable, and watch the fireworks at dusk on Sunday, July 4.

Activities to be held earlier in the day include the 10th annual 4th of July Beach Bash at Lakeside Tavern at 7 p.m. and the Caribbean deck party from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Bridge.

Frazee will have its own celebration, with the annual FreedomFest at the Frazee ball field. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with a patriotic salute, followed by food and games throughout the evening.

Coordinator of the event, Lori Thorp said there are still more activities to be added to the agenda, but the annual watermelon eating contest and tug-of-war are definitely on the schedule.

Area lake residents plan to entertain guests with creative and patriotic boat parades, on Lake Eunice at 11 a.m. and Long Lake at 3 p.m.

Cheri O'Neill, a Long Lake resident who will also participate in this year's parade, said it'll be more laid back and casual. There will be no judging of the boats or commitment to gather afterwards.

The Long Lake parade will start at the public access and travel north around the lake. Prepare to watch more than 50 boats, including some out of the ordinary ones.

"Last year there was a sweet pirate one," O'Neill said with a smile. "The boat was like a big pirate ship."

Those vacationing in the area for a few extra days can watch Shakespeare in the Park from July 1-3, featuring the "The Merry Wives of Windsor," at the Detroit Lakes City Park Bandshell, starting at 7 p.m. each evening.

The FM Kicks Big Band will present a tribute to Count Basie at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 1 at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

Live at the Lodge Summer Thursdays will feature newly crowned Miss Minnesota Kathryn Knuttila playing the piano and Nashville's Andy Karg on guitar and vocals from 7 to 10 p.m. July 1 at the Lodge on Lake Detroit.

GB Leighton will perform at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 2-3 and at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 4 at the 10th annual 4th of July beach bash at Lakeside Tavern.